Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Reconstruction of the Mummy of Pum 1

Here we have the mummy known as Pum 1 (Pennsylvania University mummy 1), the mummy was autopsied back in 1972 and from the picture the mummy appears to be in good shape. However in reality the mummy from the waist up is in many pieces and overdue for some attention and cleaning.

The article is from the Penn Museum's blog "In the Artifacts lab" which shows the condition of their mummy and the restoration work given to the preservation and cleaning of the Pum 1. Today the mummy is looking good but sadly without the mummy's real name it is just a nameless shell.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Valley of Kings Tomb KV40

A team of archaeologists from the University of Basel have been excavating Valley of kings tomb KV40 for long regarded by past explorers as unimportant in a cemetery of kings. The archaeologists have found the remains of 50 people in the tomb including the identification of a dozen royal children and a number of foreign lady's.

Among the debris was also found that the tomb had been reused in the 9th century BC. by a family of priests. The tomb was found with a thick layer of debris which included fragments of coffins and linen among which the mummified remains were found including the presence of a number of infants.

The tomb was used for the members of two 18th Dynasty king's families including Thutmosis IV and his heir Amenhotep III. The tomb was also set on fire perhaps from a robbers torch.

Photo:  Matjaz Kacicnik, University of Basel/Egyptology
[Credit: Matjaz Kacicnik, University of Basel/Egyptology]

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[Credit: Matjaz Kacicnik, University of Basel/Egyptology]

Read more at:
Follow us: @ArchaeoNewsNet on Twitter | groups/thearchaeologynewsnetwork/ on Facebook
[Credit: Matjaz Kacicnik, University of Basel/Egyptology]

Read more at:
Follow us: @ArchaeoNewsNet on Twitter | groups/thearchaeologynewsnetwork/ on Facebook
[Credit: Matjaz Kacicnik, University of Basel/Egyptology]

Read more at:
Follow us: @ArchaeoNewsNet on Twitter | groups/thearchaeologynewsnetwork/ on Facebook

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Egyptian Book of Living and Dying

Joann Fletcher
Duncan Baird Publishers
ISBN: 1-904292-05-4

This lovely and colorful paperback opens with an introduction to the ancient Egyptian religion and practices of their beliefs through complex and often conflicting systems of positive and negative forces combined within one of many deities. These beliefs are founded on the creation theories involving the Ogdoad of Heliopolis, the Ennead of Hermopolis as well as by the Memphite God Ptah.

The reader is introduced to the various deities who produce generations of gods with many forms of animals and temperament to which the god or goddess could be represented, while on the ram-headed God Khnum's potters wheel humanity is created as an afterthought.

The forces these gods and goddess' contributed to the creation of the earth and stars is explored as is the impact of the Nile on the country and its people. "A world of dualities" puts forward primitive aggression to humankind's development of sophisticated thought.

Ms. Fletcher turns to a more in-depth look into the major gods with their liturgy's and loyalties to and from the locals with the observances and feasts practiced by the deities priests and the superstitious populace. The personalities of among others Isis, Horus. Seth and Osiris are explored through the various myths and powers each possessed.

The book is a fairly easy read suitable for readers 10 and up though passing through the halfway point of the book the read possesses little fluency and the subject of Pharaonic religious myth and thought might bore some readers. The author now turns to the king's role in the continuation of the state of Maat and as a bridge between the people and their gods.

Ms. Fletcher is next onto the gods houses including the rituals invoked and the roles of the servants of the gods. Ritual purity was a must in the temples requiring bathing twice a day and twice a night as well as shaved bodies and fresh linens.

The author deals with in passing ancestor worship and heads into the king's ritual responsibilities within the gods houses, usually performed on the king's behalf by the temples priests in the day to day running of the temple. The festival days are covered and seemingly frequent including the Opet festival and local festivals with large processions by land or river to and from their temples.

Various temple documents are touched upon as is the essence of the hieroglyphic script and the symbolism involved in the royal names. The power of magic mixed with theology and dreams are implored to guide or aid the devotee.

In the final chapter, the souls journey to the underworld is guided by an evolving liturgy which over time democratized the path through the underworld from pyramid texts in the royal tombs of the Old Kingdom to the book of the dead found in the coffins of the noble class of the New Kingdom.

The book was a short read and very informative on the subject though I would not say the book was great, it was certainly adequate and reliable as a gift to a young person but I would not give it to an adult!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

26th Dynasty Tombs Discovered at Al-Bahnasa

Archaeologists from the Spanish mission of Barcelona University have discovered two 26th Dynasty tombs at Al-Bahnasa in Middle Egypt. The first tomb contains the well preserved unidentified mummy of a scribe including an inkwell and pens but even more surprising is the presence of many mummified fishes in the tomb.

The second tomb contains a collection of stone sarcophagi, bronze Osiris statuettes, inscribed canopic jars and a collection of bronze coins.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Slap on the Wrist

Last years discovery of six objects of ancient origin believed smuggled out of Egypt has met with an anti-climatic ending. The pieces were discovered when a Briton, Neil Kingsbury took the pieces to Christie's auction house to sell them giving an explanation that they belonged to an uncle who brought the pieces to England after WWII.

It was then noticed that one of the pieces was a red granite fragment of a Nubian prisoner from a statue of a seated kings throne. A curator at the British museum, Marcel Maree however spotted the piece and recognized it from having been discovered at the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III at Thebes.

A clear case of theft from that archaeological site and of smuggling antiquities out of Egypt but more than this a collection of some importance. Mr. Kingsbury was arrested and charged and after a nine month trial has been convicted for his part in the theft and smuggling and because of his co operation was given a lenient sentence of L550 in fines.

Somehow the operation appears to be worth the risk, especially had it not been for that piece of granite the pieces would likely have brought in many thousands of pounds. A very lucky man for the ending would have been very different and likely very unpleasant for Mr. Kingsbury had he been caught with the material in Egypt!

Photo: (MPAA)

Further Reading:
Fragments from Christie's
Who's Collection?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Journey of Three Mummies

Here we have an article involving three ancient mummies and a number of coffins and artifacts stolen by a gang and recovered. This is another clear example of heritage lost, where as in England the finder would have brought reward to turn it over, but in Egypt the reward is nothing to prison for making such a find.

Not scientific in any form, but a sad loss on any level!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lions Stolen from Luxor

This past week someone has walked off from the Luxor temple open air museum with two small limestone statues of lions, pictured here with the arrows. Though the lions are small they are heavy and too large to fit in a persons pocket.

Hopefully they will turn up as with the publicity they are now relatively worthless to buyers .

Photo: Dr Raymond Johnson